What’s not to love about Tuesdays? You get to listen to a bunch of great new albums, and it’s not Monday anymore. That enough is cause for celebration. This week’s slate of new releases is especially diverse, and gives fans of almost every genre something great to spin.
Taylor Swift “ Red
If at first, you hated “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together,” then you started humming it absentmindedly in the supermarket aisle, and then you found it taking over every waking thought, you’re not alone. Every successive single released from Red has nestled itself into the deepest recesses of our minds like a musical laser beam of pure studio magic. Red could be Swift’s most blatantly poppy, and best, album yet.
Kendrick Lamar “ good kid, m.A.A.d city
Indie whiz kid Kendrick Lamar’s major label debut is a stunner. A cohesive rap album with a unified concept that doesn’t get bogged down in its own storytelling, good kid, m.A.A.d city features Lamar spitting beautifully rhymed off“kilter verses complemented by an all“star guest list that features Drake, Dr. Dre, production by Pharrell, Hit Boy, and more.
Bat For Lashes “ The Haunted Man
Bat For Lashes’ first album in three years showcases a new set of moody chamber ballads from singer Natasha Khan. Dark synths shiver and glitchy beats pop behind Khan’s lyrical journeys into the shadows of her own psyche. Impossibly compelling and intricately composed, the songs on The Haunted Man demand repeated listens.
Further Seems Forever “ Penny Black
Further Seems Forever make their triumphant return with original singer Chris Carrabba, and the result is everything that fans have been waiting for since the release of The Moon Is Down more than ten years ago. The band has never sounded more cohesive or confident, and Carrabba’s vocals soar high over a tangle of rhythmically dense guitar work. It’s emo all grown up.
Titus Andronicus “ Local Business
Scrappy Jersey punks Titus Andronicus have already made a concept album about the Civil War, so it only makes sense that their newest effort is a little bit closer to home. Local Business details the band’s personal trials “ sometimes in an intensely honest way, as on “My Eating Disorder” “ to brash and strident success. This one’s meant to be played loud.
More like this:
- Exclusive Q and A: Chris Carrabba Talks ˜Penny Black,’ Reuniting With Further Seems Forever
- Taylor Swift Drops New Track: I Knew You Were Trouble
The word “unapologetic” could mean a lot of things to Rihanna: her defiance of the public condemnation of her “Man Down” video, her nude pastoral prancing that shocked a Northern Irish farmer, or maybe just the way that Chris Brown has never seemed truly remorseful for being an objectively terrible person. But with the release of the cover art for her latest album Unapologetic, Riri might just be admitting that her design team shamelessly lifted their creative inspiration from a stack of recent Esquire issues sitting in the Def Jam Records lobby. All typographical similarities aside, Rihanna’s cover lets her show off that sweet new chest piece and enlists her in the growing ranks of recent artists who have stripped for their album art, such as Natasha Khan and Christina Aguilera. While Rihanna, Khan, and Aguilera’s nude shoots are definitely daring, they’ve got nothing on that naked kid on the front of Nevermind. Dude went full frontal years ago.
More like this:
- Sound And Vision: Rihanna Vs. Christina Aguilera Vs. Alicia Keys: Who Will Win November’s Battle of the Divas?
- Think Before You Ink, Chris Brown¦
The one-take video. Gimmick? Sure, it’s a bit of a gimmick, but we’re talking about music videos here, folks. These are essentially ads made to sell records, so let’s appreciate that the artists and directors here made the effort. And an effort it must be to coordinate some of these more complicated shoots. Oh, you know what I learned? That Rube Goldberg machine video from OK Go was not one-shot. Cheaters! They make the list anyway for their Internet-burning treadmill video. Cheeky bastards.
10. Undone “ Weezer
The video that launched Weezer. It was years before fans stopped asking drummer Pat Wilson to do his little butt-shake dance.
With a shock of flame-red hair and a voice that can shake the rafters, Casey Desmond is not one to be easily overlooked. Just ask Adam Levine, who picked the Boston artist for his team on NBC’s The Voice after hearing her power through Lady Gaga’s Born This Way. Desmond belongs in the same echelon of electro-pop performers as Natasha Khan and Alison Goldfrapp”all are sequined sirens able to lure listeners to the dance floor in seconds flat. Rendezvous is steeped in ˜80s pop, a punchy mix of wiry guitars, swirling synths, driving drums and Desmond’s dreamy, sailing vocals. Loose Ends is another quick hit of adrenaline”glammy, sexy and kinetic. If you ever wonder why I’m never surprised, I’m over here babe, listening to your phone line, Desmond purrs. She may like to tease, but if you’re looking for electrifying pop, heavy with hooks, Desmond’s a sure thing.
One would think with her porcelain skin and ethereal voice that this week’s Needle In The Haystack Rie Sinclair just floated onto the scene as if it were divine intervention. Quite the contrary, Rie has been making waves in the industry better equated to a tropical storm than a wading pool, writing music for ABC/Disney and shows like Californication, Ghost Whisperer, Vampire Diaries and working with veterans like ex-Eels bassist/Abandoned Pools frontman Tommy Walter. She even has her own Emmy nomination and (arguably more impressive) iPhone app to boot. Learn more about Rie in the video below, and check back for more from her throughout the week, like free downloads, interviews and videos.
For fans of: Portishead, Tori Amos, Bat For Lashes
With a slot in the Noise Pop schedule, a spot on the RCRDLBL roster and a new album set to release this spring, Kings & Queens are ready to hold court in 2009. Judging from the momentum the band has built up over the past few years, this won’t be the last we’ll hear from them. The band’s achievement list so far includes featuring songs on A&E Television and in a Nike Video, as well as opening for Bat for Lashes.
Known for their original sound that integrates psychedelic energy with sleepy melancholy, the Kings & Queens are the masters of audio illusions. As the California newspaper, The Union, puts it, “The soulful songs on the pair’s 2006 EP have a hallucinatory power that conjures up mirages and shimmering light… resonant organ riffs combined with Rich Good’s guitar reverb are the foundation of their magical soundscape.”
Feel free to get a little trippy and check out Kings & Queens with Sleepy Sun, Lumerians,and True Widow at Bottom of the Hill tomorrow or (if your trip isn’t going to take you to San Francisco) listen to them on OurStage: